Massive multiplayer online role-playing games, or MMORPGs for short, are among some of the most ambitious types of video games on the planet. For many, the genre stands as the life force of the industry, as their worlds continuously harness a player base for all the while its developers feed content into them. And when we're talking about content, we're putting our scope on things like game-changing expansions, ones that stretch the borders and boost the size of the map to adopt sensational new territories.
The fact is, MMORPGs are in receipt of some of the most expansive regions on the planet. Rightfully so, as they often house millions of players across a plethora of servers. The question is, which MMOs have really pushed the boat out, and which have brought shame to their rivals by crafting worlds quadruple the size of most run-of-the-mill replicas? Well, here's what we know about the largest maps in MMORPG history.
5. Guild Wars: Nightfall
Guild Wars has celebrated some pretty momentous milestones since its 2005 debut, many of which have helped greenlight a number of well-deserved spin-offs and expansions. Nightfall, being just one of the main game's offspring, is a standalone entry that received far more than the bog-standard update. And boy, did it set the bar for MMORPGs all over the globe.
Nightfall slots players in the continent of Elona, a majestic world that spans just under 39,000 km2. So loaded with quests, characters and history lessons is it, that it's almost impossible to shy away from. It's ArenaNet's former pride and joy, and it remains one of the most visually impressive online role-playing games even to this day. But does it topple Prophecies? Eh, you could say it gave it a run for its money once upon a time.
4. The Lord of the Rings Online
The Lord of the Rings is perhaps one of the most sought-after franchises in both cinema and literature. Makes sense, as its rich and vast world known as Middle-earth is a bastion of pride for fantasy fans all over the globe. Its video game port, simply titled The Lord of the Rings Online, is further proof that Tolkien really knew how to conjure a breathtakingly compelling world.
Given the fact that the game launched way back in 2007, it's surprising to see how well Turbine has managed to preserve the very nooks and crannies of the dated MMO. With just shy of 78,000 km2 to maintain, it's almost a shock to see each and every corner still brimming with life. From Hobbiton to Mordor and every crevice between, Middle-earth represents the highest standard of MMO gaming, and it's no wonder so many still flock to its world to bathe in its vast array of wondrous treasures.
3. World of Warcraft
It amazes us to this day that World of Warcraft, in spite of having countless expansions and overhauls over an eighteen year period, still hasn't managed to topple the MMO monopoly in terms of map size. That isn't to say Azeroth and all its surrounding regions are bite-sized and leagues apart from others in the role-playing network, but they are much further down the chain than a few lesser-known contenders.
Of course, Azeroth is just the centerpiece to a whole nexus of explorable regions. Let us not forget that the game also opens up to Outland, Northrend, Draenor, and Shadowlands, four absolutely enormous places that each boast thousands of quests, raids, and pockets of lore. When all sewn together, World of Warcraft becomes an all-powerful pawn on the MMO board, one that no other rival could dare to replicate and get away with.
2. World War 2 Online
World War 2 Online is an action-role playing game that boards a wealthy amount of players day in, day out. Its defining feature, though, comes in the form of the map size itself, which boasts the entire Western Front. To put it lightly, that's a single scale map of Western Europe, with approximately 350,000 km2 of land to explore and conquer. And the best part is, the game's servers are built to survive even the heaviest influx of players, meaning there is quite literally no maximum capacity to breach.
Of course, World War 2 Online may hold a record for being one of the biggest war-themed MMOs on the market, but that doesn't mean its done dishing out content just yet. The fact is, its developers are still fighting tooth and nail to keep its place by uploading regular updates and expansions. And so, if you're looking to delve into an absolutely huge open world that ships all things war-based, then you'll definitely find comfort among the ranks of Playnet's flagship MMO.
It bewilders us to know that Minecraft is in possession of a good 4 billion km2 of available space. But then, being a sandbox game that urges its players to build without limits, it does make sense for its borders to be almost non-existent. But 4 billion km2? Now that's just punching unrealistically high even for Minecraft.
Anyway, if you actually wanted to traverse the Minecraft kingdom and see all there is to see, then you'd need to devote a rough eighty days to the journey. That's 30 million blocks to shovel through, wouldn't you believe? Now, we can't speak for everyone, but you'd probably have to be out of your mind to brave such an otherworldly distance. That said, it's a feat many have more than likely already conquered at some point or another.
So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five MMORPGs? Are there any open world games we should know about? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.